VT Senators Sen. Bernard Sanders [I-VT] and Patrick Leahy [D-VT] asked the DOL to back off on their requirement to expand the scope of retirement plan services providers that are to be considered plan fiduciaries. The DOL recently issued proposed regulations on the definition of a fiduciary that will define ESOP appraisers as fiduciaries.
Concerned with the cost fiduciary status might bring to ESOP administration and management, the senators sent a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. The letter asked for an extension of the public comment period on the proposed rule and requested that Labor Department officials meet with Vermont lawmakers and ESOP sponsors."These small businesses already face high costs of maintaining an ESOP and repurchasing shares of departing vested employee-owners," the lawmakers wrote. "Additional financial burdens could negatively impact their ability to expand their businesses and hire new employees."